PRINCE: The Prince has asked me to make sure that you’re all coming to the Ball tonight.
DOTTY: (standing) I’ll be there!
POTTY: (standing) And I’ll be there!
PRINCE: And what about you…Cinderella?
PRINCE: Yes. The invitation is definitely for all of you. The Prince was most insistent.
CINDERELLA: But…I couldn’t possibly come to the Ball!
DOTTY: No, she couldn’t!
PRINCE: Why not?
CINDERELLA: Well, I haven’t got anything to wear.
POTTY: That’s right - she’s got nothing to wear!
BUTTONS: I could make you a dress, Cinderella!
CINDERELLA: Could you really, Buttons?
BUTTONS: Wait there!
He exits, and there’s a manic few seconds of hammering, drilling, and sawing sound effects. Buttons re-enters with a pretty dress.
BUTTONS: It’s the best I could do.
CINDERELLA: Oh, Buttons! It’s brilliant!
PRINCE: So there’s no excuse! You can come to the Ball, after all.
CINDERELLA: But what about my shoes?
Buttons sighs, exits, and we hear another few seconds of hammering and banging. He re-enters with a pair of shoes.
BUTTONS: Size 4, slim-fitting.
CINDERELLA: Oh, Buttons! You’re a star!
PRINCE: So you will come!
Exit Buttons. More curious noises off-stage. He re-enters with various items in a box, which he hands over as they are mentioned.
BUTTONS: Tights, bra, knickers.
BUTTONS: (handing one over) Handbag.
BUTTONS: (handing one over) Underarm, with roller ball, for those extra sticky moments.
CINDERELLA: Hair spray?
BUTTONS: (handing it over) Extra firm hold.
BUTTONS: Lipsticks, gloss, mascara, and foundation, with moisturiser and active lipposomes, to visibly combat the signs of ageing.
CINDERELLA: Oh, Buttons - you've thought of almost everything!
BUTTONS: Almost everything??
CINDERELLA: (confidentially) Bikini-line waxing strips?
BUTTONS: (producing them instantly) Two dozen. Should get you through the summer.
PRINCE: So you will come?
CINDERELLA: I’ll think about it. Yes, of course I’ll come!
PRINCE: Good! I must get back to the Palace. The Prince has asked me to tell you that he’ll send his coach at 8 o’clock to pick you up.
DOTTY: 8 o’clock? But what about my face? It won’t be ready!
POTTY: You could always leave it behind.
DOTTY: Shut your trap! I’ll have you know I was once offered a job at the Palace, modelling.
POTTY: Yeah, for a gargoyle. At least, there is one good thing about your face.
DOTTY: What’s that?
POTTY: It’s not on my neck!
In temper, Dotty grabs the other custard pie, which Cinderella has now “made”, and swings for Potty. She ducks, and the Prince gets it full in the mush. There’s a gasp, and the room falls silent.
PRINCE: (calm and dignified) If you’ll excuse me, ladies. (He goes to the door and turns) Thank you for the cake.
The Prince exits. The sisters explode with laughter, and start celebrating. Then they suddenly stop in panic.
DOTTY: What am I going to wear?
POTTY: Never mind you. What am I going to wear?
DOTTY: It’s a quarter to eight! There’s no time to get to Marks & Spencers!
POTTY: But I must have a new dress - with beautiful lace and expensive frills.
DOTTY: We can’t afford expensive frills!
POTTY: Okay, let’s have some cheap frills.
DOTTY: Better still - I think I’ll just take this dress!
She snatches at Cinderella’s new dress.
POTTY: Better still - I think I’ll take this dress!
DOTTY: It’s mine!
POTTY: It’s mine!
DOTTY: It’s mine!!
They tear it in half.
SISTERS: It’s Cinderella’s.
Enter the Baroness, in a rage.
BARONESS: What are you two doing! The Prince’s coach is here!
DOTTY: What? He’s early!
POTTY: We’re late!
BARONESS: Quickly - go and put your make-up on!
She hands them a trowel.
DOTTY: Come on, Potty, let’s go and raid mother’s wardrobe!
BARONESS: And as for you two layabouts - you can start clearing up this mess you’ve made! I’m coming my beauties. Hold the coach, William!
She storms out, leaving Cinderella and Buttons distraught.
BUTTONS: Oh, Cinders! It’s ruined!
CINDERELLA: All your hard work. I’m so sorry, Buttons.
BUTTONS: Never mind me. What about you? You won’t be able to go to the Ball!
CINDERELLA: You did this so quickly - couldn’t you make me another dress?
BUTTONS: I’m afraid not, Cinders. That was the last of the curtains. (Looking out of a window) Besides, there goes the coach now, with four horses on the front, and two ugly mares inside.
CINDERELLA: Then I’m afraid it’s curtains for me too.
BUTTONS: Never mind, Cinders. We’ve still got each other.
She looks at him, and then sobs uncontrollably.
(To the audience) She really knows how to make a chap feel wanted.
The lights dim to a colour, and the Hairy Godmother appears front of stage, spotlit. He snaps his fingers, and Cinderella and Buttons freeze.
HAIRY GODMOTHER: Oh dear, oh dear, isn’t it appallin’
Cinderella’s got nothing to go to the Ball in.
(It’s not exactly Wordsworth, is it?)
Seeing such a sad, sad scene,
Makes me want to intervene.
Yes, it’s time for me to do my bit.
'Cos now she’s really in the…depths of despair.
The Hairy Godmother snaps his fingers and exits. The lights fade back up on Buttons and Cinders, who emerge from their suspended animation, and a doorbell rings.
BUTTONS: Isn’t that the door?
CINDERELLA: No, that’s the doorbell - the door’s a big wooden thing.
BUTTONS: (to the audience) Since when was Cinderella sarcastic?
The doorbell rings again. Buttons gets up and moves at his usual snail’s pace.
BUTTONS: I’d better see who it is, without delay.
CINDERELLA: Wait here, Buttons. I’ll go. They’re bored enough as it is.
BUTTONS: I wouldn’t mind but I’m not getting paid for this, you know.
Cinderella re-enters with the Hairy Godmother, who is disguised, rather unconvincingly, as an old woman, with a shawl around his shoulders, and a wig. He feigns an old woman’s voice - except when addressing the audience. He is also carrying a small sack.
CINDERELLA: Buttons, this old lady has asked if we could possibly provide her with a little shelter from the snow.
A stagehand is then clearly seen chucking a bucket of false snow over the Hairy Godmother from the side of the stage.
BUTTONS: Of, course. Come in, old woman.
HAIRY GODMOTHER: Thank you, kind sir.
The Hairy Godmother snaps his fingers to freeze Cinders and Buttons again, and detours to the front of the stage to have a quick private word with the audience.
HAIRY GODMOTHER: Bet you never recognized me, did you?
Now, you might be thinking, why the disguise?
Well, I thought, they wouldn’t believe their eyes
If I just popped up, like, out of the blue,
So this is what I’m going to do.
I’ll pretend I’m hungry,
I’ll pretend I’m cold,
I’ll pretend I’m ugly (all right, settle down)
And I’ll pretend I’m old.
And if they’re kind to this poor old hag,
I’ll let them look inside me bag.
Now, me bag is full of magic spells
(opens it and winces) It’s also full of nasty smells.
I stole it, you see, from a powerful witch,
And it’s brilliant! There’s just one hitch.
The magic doesn’t always go quite to plan,
That’s how I ended up being a man.
The instruction book got, sort of…lost,
So, you’d better keep your fingers crossed!
Another snap of his fingers brings them back to life.
CINDERELLA: Poor old woman, are you hungry?
HAIRY GODMOTHER: Why yes, kind girl, I believe I am.
Might you have some bread and jam?
Perhaps some meat, a little soup?
An apple, or a hula hoop?
BUTTONS: Old lady - you do talk in a strange way.
HAIRY GODMOTHER: Yes, I’m afraid I’m cursed to talk in rhyme.
BUTTONS: Why’s that?
HAIRY GODMOTHER: It’s a long story. And I haven’t got time.
CINDERELLA: Oh, go on - do tell!
HAIRY GODMOTHER: Okay. I had a fight, with the wicked witch of the West.
CINDERELLA: And did you win?
HAIRY GODMOTHER: Well, I did my best. But she cast a spell
And this is the result.
BUTTONS: You talk in rhyme!
HAIRY GODMOTHER: But it’s not my fault.
CINDERELLA: That’s terrible!
HAIRY GODMOTHER: Yes, it gets really tricky to talk in rhyme
Not once, or twice, but all the time.
I mean, sometimes, you say a word like orange….
(a puzzled pause all round)
BUTTONS: And then you’re really stuffed, aren’t you.
CINDERELLA: Here, old lady, have a little warming soup.
She tosses a can of tinned tomato soup over to him.
Buttons - get over here!
Buttons makes his way slowly to Cinderella, who has beckoned him away from the Hairy Godmother now sitting at the table.
Hurry! Buttons - there’s something funny about this old lady.
BUTTONS: What do you mean?
CINDERELLA: Well, does she really look like she hasn’t eaten for ages?
BUTTONS: I suppose not.
CINDERELLA: And have you noticed how hairy her legs are?
BUTTONS: A lot of women have hairy legs.
CINDERELLA: And her arms?
BUTTONS: So what? There’s nothing unusual in that.
CINDERELLA: And her chest.
BUTTONS: (a wide-eyed stare) Leave this to me. (He confronts the Hairy Godmother) Old woman! We think you’re an imposter!
The Hairy Godmother stands.
HAIRY GODMOTHER: Explain yourself, you little squirt
Or I’ll rub your nose into the dirt.
BUTTONS: What is it you want with us? We have no money, if that’s what you’ve come to steal.
HAIRY GODMOTHER: Me? Steal your money? Now watch it, sonny!
BUTTONS: You’re no frail old lady. I’ve never seen a woman as big as you, or as ugly as you, or as hairy as you!
HAIRY GODMOTHER: What - not even in the Spice Girls?
BUTTONS: All right, fair enough. But you’re no Spice Girl either. Come on, out with it! Who are you?
The Hairy Godmother “freezes” them again.
HAIRY GODMOTHER: (to the audience) Well it’s not quite like I had it planned,
But I think I’ll meet the squirt’s demand.
The interval is getting near,
It’s time to tell them why I’m here.
(Another snap of the fingers, and he addresses Buttons and Cinders in the old woman’s voice)
Right, I was going to break this really gently
But you’ve left me little choice.
I’m going to change now, bit by bit,
(He resumes his normal voice) Starting with my voice.
You asked me why I looked so big
And why I looked so hairy,
Well, underneath this shawl and wig…
(He whips of the disguise)
Is a great big bloody fairy!
Cinderella and Buttons stand back in amazement.
That’s given ‘em, something to think about.
CINDERELLA: But - are you a good fairy?
HAIRY GODMOTHER: You’d better ask them. What do you think, boys and girls - Am I a good fairy?
CINDERELLA: But why are you here?
HAIRY GODMOTHER: Right pay attention - we haven’t got much time
And I’m running out of words which rhyme.
You want to go to the Ball - right?
HAIRY GODMOTHER: Well I’m about to make your night.
CINDERELLA: But - it’s nearly nine o’clock!
BUTTONS: The Prince’s coach went ages ago!
CINDERELLA: And I’ve got nothing to wear!
BUTTONS: And she’s got nothing to wear!
HAIRY GODMOTHER: Stop panicking! I am your Hairy Godmother,
And I’ve brought me bag of tricks…
BUTTONS: Do you get paid to dress like that?
HAIRY GODMOTHER: No, I’m doing it for kicks. Will you stop interrupting?
HAIRY GODMOTHER: Where was I?
BUTTONS: Bag of tricks.
HAIRY GODMOTHER: Oh, yeah. Do you believe in magic, my dear?
'Cos there’s bags of magic inside here.
CINDERELLA: Oh, yes! I even believe in the stars. I’m a Virgo.
HAIRY GODMOTHER: The night’s young. Right, here’s goes.
He gets a magic spell book from his bag, and reads it out, accompanied by suitably eerie lighting and music.
Before it strikes the midnight hour
This spell will give you awesome power
Dark secrets of the ancient witches
Transforming you from rags to riches
From lowly servant - to beautiful Princess
In fifteen minutes - maybe less.
It’s easy but…here comes the twist,
You must first complete this shopping list.
He hands a dusty old list to Cinderella.
CINDERELLA: First collect…four rats? I can’t touch rats!
BUTTONS: Don’t worry, I’ll go.
He moves tortuously across the stage.
CINDERELLA: This is no good. The Ball will be over before he even gets to the door!
HAIRY GODMOTHER: Hang on, hang on. (Searching through the book) Here’s a spell to speed things up.
“First you need a drinking cup.”
CINDERELLA: There you go.
HAIRY GODMOTHER: Right. “Fill the cup with squashed-up snails…”
HAIRY GODMOTHER: Always carry some. (He gets some out of his bag and pops them in the cup)
“Fill the cup with squashed-up snails
Then add three large lizards’ tails.” (From the bag)
One, two three.
“Then top it up with monkey sick…
CINDERELLA: Monkey sick???
HAIRY GODMOTHER: “This should make him twice as quick.”
The Hairy Godmother pours some disgusting thick yellow liquid into the cup.
HAIRY GODMOTHER: Right. (He approaches Buttons menacingly) Drink this!
Buttons screams “No!” and runs off at high speed, having been chased around the stage.
HAIRY GODMOTHER: Well, that worked all right!
CINDERELLA: He dropped the shopping list. (Reading it) “Four rats. These will be your horses.” (She goes to the window) Don’t forget the rats, Buttons!
There’s a dramatic struggling sound offstage.
BUTTONS: (offstage) I’ve got one!
CINDERELLA: He’s got one!
HAIRY GODMOTHER: Put him in the courtyard!
CINDERELLA: Put him in the courtyard!
BUTTONS: I’ve got another one!
CINDERELLA: He’s got another one!
HAIRY GODMOTHER: Courtyard!
HAIRY GODMOTHER: You know where.
CINDERELLA: You know where!
HAIRY GODMOTHER: One more.
CINDERELLA: One more!
BUTTONS: (still struggling) This is a big one.
CINDERELLA: This is a big one!
BUTTONS: This is a nasty one!
CINDERELLA: This is a nasty one!
BUTTONS: I’ve got it!
CINDERELLA: He’s got it!
BUTTONS: No I haven’t!
CINDERELLA: No he hasn’t!
BUTTONS: Yes I have!
CINDERELLA: Yes he has!
HAIRY GODMOTHER: (to the audience) Look, you’ve got to use your imagination, all right. (To Cinderella) List.
CINDERELLA: (shouting to Buttons) List! Oh, list, right. Here it is…erm…. “Two white mice will be your coachmen.” Two white mice, Buttons!
BUTTONS: Two what?
CINDERELLA: White mice!
BUTTONS: Fried rice?
CINDERELLA: White mice!
BUTTONS: Will rats do?
CINDERELLA: Will rats do?
HAIRY GODMOTHER: No!
BUTTONS: Leave it with me.
HAIRY GODMOTHER: (to the audience) Now, this is where it really gets clever.
You’ll soon see what I mean.
Cinders walk this way…
It’s time to change the scene.
They have walked to the front of the stage.
(Shouting to the stage manager) Righto!
The curtains jerk shut behind them.
Slick, eh? What do you expect on a budget like this? Hydraulics?
We hear Buttons from behind the curtains.
BUTTONS: I’ve got the two white mice!
CINDERELLA: (watching through the curtains) He’s got the two white mice!
HAIRY GODMOTHER: What’s next?
CINDERELLA: (consulting the list) Er….a pumpkin.
BUTTONS: (dispirited) A sodding pumpkin?
CINDERELLA: That’s what it says. “A pumpkin will be your golden coach.”
BUTTONS: Would you settle for a cucumber?
HAIRY GODMOTHER: Nope.
BUTTONS: We haven’t got any pumpkins!
CINDERELLA: Find one!
BUTTONS: They don’t grow on trees you know.
CINDERELLA: Stop wingeing and get on with it!
HAIRY GODMOTHER: (stage whisper to Cinderella) Have they changed the set yet?
CINDERELLA: (shouting through the curtains) Have you changed the set yet?
BUTTONS: I’m still looking for the sodding pumpkin!
CINDERELLA: Not you - them!
BUTTONS: Not yet!
CINDERELLA: Not yet!
BUTTONS: Tell the Fairy to fill time.
CINDERELLA: Tell the Fairy to fill time!
HAIRY GODMOTHER: Er…Twas on the good ship Venus…
A thumbs up through the curtains.
CINDERELLA: Buttons? Are you there?
CINDERELLA: What about the pumpkin?
BUTTONS: I’ve done my best.
HAIRY GODMOTHER: All right, we can’t wait any longer.
He reads from his magic book.
“Mirror, mirror, on the wall…” No, hang on, wrong one.
“Abracadabra, superglue, what happens next - I haven’t a clue.”
CINDERELLA: (peeping through the curtains anxiously) Nothing.
HAIRY GODMOTHER: There’s a page missing. I knew this would happen. Erm… Try this.
“Ziggerty, zaggerty, zoggerty, zit…
Paul Daniels is a balding git.”
How are we doing?
CINDERELLA: Still nothing.
HAIRY GODMOTHER: All right, this must be it! It’s our last hope. Oh, hang on. It says that if the magic is going to work, all the children need to shout the magic word as loudly as possible.
CINDERELLA: What’s the magic word?
HAIRY GODMOTHER: It doesn’t say.
CINDERELLA: Wait a minute! That’s it! The children must shout “the magic word” as loudly as possible. So shout it! “The magic word!” Come on, after three, 1…2…3…The Magic Word!
HAIRY GODMOTHER: Not loud enough. Again! Still not loud enough! One last time!
CINDERELLA: Something’s happening. I can see smoke!
Magical music builds, with smoke.
HAIRY GODMOTHER: It’s starting! Right, here goes.
“Courtyard square, Pumpkin round,
Mice and rats upon the ground
Be transformed by magic forces,
Into Cinders' coach and horses.
Magic clothes are also made
By my fairies in their glade
Magic shoes and magic dress
Will guarantee her happiness
So come with me, take my hand
I’ll take you into…Fairyland!”
The curtains open to a swell of magical music. A mirrorball sparkles through the smoke, lighting a glittering dress on a stand, around which are standing two coachmen, and four scruffy children. More children dressed as fairies, and Buttons, are standing in the background, singing. When the song finishes…
CINDERELLA: Wow! Look at this beautiful dress. And these handsome coachmen. You were the mice, weren’t you?
COACHMAN ONE: Squeak! Squeak!
COACHMAN TWO: Got any cheese?
CINDERELLA: Oh! And these beautiful glass slippers! And this beautiful golden …where’s the coach? Buttons - what happened to the pumpkin?
BUTTONS: Er…well, I…er, couldn’t exactly find a pumpkin.
CINDERELLA: What exactly did you find?
BUTTONS: I was under pressure.
BUTTONS: A sausage.
CINDERELLA: A sausage??
BUTTONS: It was a nice sausage.
CINDERELLA: And what happened to it?
BUTTONS: Any good on a skateboard? (He lifts one up)
CINDERELLA: I can’t leave on a golden skateboard pulled by four horses!
BUTTONS: Horses? What horses?
CINDERELLA: The magic horses. Transformed from the four rats you caught.
BUTTONS: Oh, rats! I thought you said brats. (Referring to the children) I found these four playing in the courtyard.
CINDERELLA: Oh, never mind. I’m sure we’ll manage somehow. Oh, Hairy Godmother, thank you. Thank you!
She hugs him.
HAIRY GODMOTHER: Oh, shucks, Cinderella,
It was nothing at all.
Now run along,
And have a ball.
CINDERELLA: Bye, everyone! Bye!!
Cinderella leaves the stage, holding her new dress, and pushed on a skateboard by the four children, all waving. There’s a swell of triumphant music. Curtain.
End of Act One.